- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2006

Luther lives

Letter dated Nov. 12, addressed to D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, from resident Jesse H. Merrell of Garfield Street Northwest:

“Dear Mayor Williams: I realize you are going out of office but … I write in a final futile effort about your Department of Public Works notice of Nov. 6, 2006, to Luther L. Miller, with a $75 fine for his trash containers being ‘out for collection at the wrong time or place.’

“As I’ve repeatedly told you, Luther L. Miller is dead — has been for nearly 30 years! On Nov. 1, 2001, after a similar notice, I told you Luther Miller has been dead since 1976. On Nov. 27, 2001 — after a second notice — I wrote that Mr. Miller was ‘still dead,’ and to direct all future correspondence to him at Old Stone Church Cemetery, Lewisburg, W.Va.

“On Dec. 14, 2001 — after a third letter — I wrote again, asking what part of ‘dead’ confused you, and sent you a certified copy of his death certificate. On Feb. 2, 2002 — after an unbelievable fourth letter — I wrote and asked if I took you to see his tombstone in Lewisburg, would that help? …

“Now, undeterred, your unrelenting, unstoppable bureaucrats … sent another notice to Luther L. Miller on Nov. 6, 2006.”

Farewell, Rummy

The American Spectator’s 2006 Robert L. Bartley dinner on Wednesday was “off-the-record,” but we can tell you that outgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s keynote address made clear that the United States should not abandon Iraq anytime soon.

Subsequent remarks from Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, which were filled with praise for Mr. Rumsfeld and the U.S. military (several injured Iraq war veterans were in the packed audience at the Mandarin Oriental hotel), echoed the secretary’s sentiments.

Master of ceremonies Grover G. Norquist pointed out that Ronald Reagan’s ultimate victory in the Cold War never came until 1991 — nearly three years after he left office. Patience, he said, being the key word.

One of our favorite lines of the evening was compliments of Michael Barone, senior writer for U.S. News & World Report, who was presented with the 2006 Barbara Olson Award. Without naming names, he touched on the probability of one potential 2008 presidential candidate “throwing her broom into the ring.”

Standard role

“We didn’t vote for him,” write the editors of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, but “would still like to congratulate James Webb on his victory in the Virginia Senate election.”

By winning, they explain, the Democrat who defeated Republican Sen. George Allen “becomes the first-ever Weekly Standard contributor to leave private life for national political office. In fact we were more than a little amused when the National Republican Senatorial Committee ran television advertisements attacking Webb for statements he made in an essay ‘The War on the Military Culture’ from our Jan. 20, 1997 issue.”

The essay highlighted the problems posed by the assimilation of women into the military, and on that front, at least, the editors and Mr. Webb, a former Navy secretary and Republican-turned-Democrat, remain in agreement.

Minor Bach

That would be a rare concert performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s towering Mass in B Minor, led by internationally acclaimed Bach authority J. Reilly Lewis, filling the afternoon air around the Washington National Cathedral on Sunday.

“It’s a monumental work that is seldom done here in the States,” Lawrence Patrick Reppert, director of administration for the Cathedral Choral Society, tells Inside the Beltway. “We’re dealing with 160 to 180 voices, and a full Bach orchestra.”

“Bach never intended the Mass to be performed in a place as large as this cathedral, so it will really be a treat to hear it performed in such a large space,” Mr. Reppert adds.

The concert begins at 4 p.m. Tickets are required ($60 sections are sold out, but $25-to-$40 seats remain) and can be obtained in advance by calling 202/537-5527, or at the door starting at 3 p.m. Sunday.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin @washingtontimes.com.

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